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Lookman scores hattrick as Atalanta win Europa League

Ademola Lookman scored three awe-inspiring goals to help Atalanta defeat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League (UEL) final. 

The Nigerian was the player of the match as the Bergamo-based club became the first Italian club to win the UEL since it was renamed in 2009.

Lookman scored two goals in the first half and another in the second phase at the Aviva stadium in Dublin, Ireland, to end Leverkusen’s unbeaten run across all competitions.

Three Nigerians featured in the final. Lookman led the Atalanta attack, while Leverkusen introduced Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella off the bench.

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The Italian side started the match pressing high all around the pitch and took the lead in the 12th minute when Lookman smashed Davide Zappacosta’s low cross into the roof of the net.

The former Everton forward doubled the Bergamo side’s advantage, scoring an even better goal in the 26th minute. He nutmegged Granit Xhaka on the edge of the goal area before bending his shot into the top corner.

Lookman again outdid himself in the 75th minute to complete a memorable hattrick for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side, stepping past a defender before smacking a shot into the top corner for 3-0 to settle the one-sided final.

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Lookman becomes the first player to score a hat trick in the UEL final and the first African to do so in a major European Cup final.

He became the seventh Nigerian to win the Europa League, joining the likes of John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, and others as UEL champions.

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